Consuming poppy seeds affects your drug test results. You do not need to eat many seeds to shows positive drug results. Poppy seeds come from a tree known as Papaver somniferum. Opium is also derived from the same tree. Drugs obtained from this tree are the most abused worldwide. Opium is used in the manufacture of drugs such as heroin and morphine. This might give you a clue why eating poppy seed would show positive results for drug tests. The test is done using a sample of urine. This article will discuss why eating poppy seeds can affect your drug test results and how long the seeds take in your body after consumption to affect your drug test results effectively.

Why poppy seeds affect a drug test

As said earlier, poppy seeds are produced by the same tree in which opium is extracted. The opium extract might come into contact with these seeds in different ways. The seeds might absorb the opium. During extraction, some extract might land on the poppy seeds. Those who use poppy seeds in cooking different dishes should thoroughly wash them to remove any trace of opium. However, washing does not guarantee that the seeds will be pure. Some traces of opium are left on the seeds.

A high intake of opium may lead to memory loss, fatigue, drowsiness, hallucinations, and convulsion. Eating poppy seeds might not present such side effects, but it would affect your drug test. Some countries, such as America, have advanced ways of eliminating opiate residue from poppy seeds. Still, none has been able to manage to get pure poppy seeds.

How a drug test is conducted.

A drug test is mostly done through a simple procedure using a sample of urine. Various drugs can be tested using this method. Such drugs include alcohol, bhang, methadone, cocaine, heroin, morphine, amphetamine, among other drugs. A small sample of urine is usually put into a specimen cup. The urine is later taken to the lab for testing. Some laboratories give instant results, while in others, you have to wait for a specified period.

If the urine confirms that there are traces of drugs, the test is said to be positive. If there is no drug confirmed from the urine, it is said to be negative. This same procedure is used to test drugs from a person who has eaten poppy seeds. There are other ways of screening drugs, such as using blood, hair, and saliva samples. 

How long does it take after taking poppy seeds to affect a drug test?

One does not need to eat too many seeds to show positive results on a drug test. It also takes few hours after eating to affect the test. Morphine and codeine can be detected in a urine sample 48 hours after eating poppy seeds. If one has consumed many seeds, it might also take time before being eliminated from the body. The results depend on the concentration of opium one has taken. If a seed has not been washed well, it might contain high opiate residue.

Too much eating of poppy seeds might lead to death as one might take an overdose of opiate. Those who eat cakes and tea containing poppy seeds should also take care, not to overdose. However, during preparation, much washing is done that ensures a low concentration of opiate.

How many poppy seeds do one require to eat for a positive drug test?

Positive drug results depend on several factors. One of the main factors is the concentration of opiates on the seeds. Unwashed seeds may contain more opiate residue, while the washed ones contain less residue. If you eat a few seeds with more concentration, your results will be positive. Somebody else may chew more seeds with a little concentration of opiate and test negative.  The laboratory conducting the test also determines the results. Some laboratories may detect any little amount of opiate in urine.

In contrast, others can only detect opiate if it is concentrated in the urine. The number of seeds affects the results too. The more seeds you have eaten, the higher the chances of having a positive drug test.

Foods that might contain poppy seeds

  • One of the common ways in which poppy seeds are used is in making poppy seed tea. Mostly the tea is made using unwashed poppy seeds. The concentration of opiate in poppy seed tea is high. This tea acts as a mild pain reliever. It is also used as a sleep stimulant.
  • Poppy seeds are also sprinkled on cakes.
  • They are used in salad dressing.
  • Bagels are commonly known as poppy seed bagels.
  • Desserts. Poppy seeds are used in making desserts. Desserts are foods that are taken after meals.
  • Poppyseed bread
  • Poppyseed chicken
  • Poppyseed muffin

All the above foods contain poppy seeds. Be sure to avoid them before having a drug test.

The bottom line

Poppy seeds affect a drug test. They show positive drug results. One does not need to chew many poppy seeds for a positive drug result. Some poppy seeds contain a high concentration of opiate residue than others. They are usually contaminated during harvesting. Those that are used in cooking foods are normally washed, decreasing the concentration of opiates. However, you should avoid such foods too before undergoing a drug test. They may also show positive drug results. Today, a large population of young people abuses drugs.

Consequently, drug screening is becoming a compulsory step that one must undergo before being recruited for any job. Knowing that poppy seeds can affect your drug test will help you avoid them since they may affect your results. Avoid eating any food product containing poppy seeds poppy seed for at least four days before a drug test. Eating too many poppy seeds is unhealthy too. It may lead to serious constipation. It can also lead to addiction and even death. However, eating poppy seeds responsibly can benefit you since these seeds contain some nutrients such as fiber, calcium, and protein.


We would like to thank the below contributors who have helped us to write this article:

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Crystal Kadir

MS, Durham University GP The work of a family doctor includes a wide range of clinical diversity, which requires extensive knowledge and erudition from a specialist. However, I believe that the most important thing for a family doctor is to be human because the cooperation and understanding between the doctor and the patient are crucial in ensuring successful health care. On my days off, I love being in nature. Since childhood, I have been passionate about playing chess and tennis. Whenever I have time off, I enjoy traveling around the world.